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Film / Umberto D

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Umberto D is a 1952 film from Italy, directed by Vittorio De Sica.

Umberto D. Ferrari is a retired clerk struggling to survive on his tiny government pension, his only companion in life being his little dog Flike. Umberto returns from a protest demanding increases in government pensions, only to find that his bitchy landlady Antonia is renting out his room to other guests. The landlady has raised his rent from 10,000 lira per month to 15,000, and tells Umberto that he's out at the end of the month, as he's behind on his rent as it is. Umberto goes on a desperate scramble to find enough money to pay his rent, or to at least fight his imminent eviction. A subplot deals with Maria, the maid at the boarding house, who is pregnant.


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Tropes:

  • Canine Companion: Flike, who goes with Umberto everywhere, including to diners and to political protests. Justified, in that he can't trust his landlady. One time when he does leave the dog at home, he comes back to the boarding house to find out that Antonia let the dog out, and now he's disappeared.
  • Crapsack World: It certainly is if you're a retired civil servant trying to survive.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Coming back to find that workmen have smashed through his wall and sent debris everywhere—Antonia is having the place remodeled—finally breaks Umberto. He gives up trying to hold on to his room, says "I'm tired", and starts thinking about suicide.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Failing to find anyone to take care of Flike, Umberto elects to step in front of a train with the dog in his arms. But the dog squeals in terror and wriggles out of Umberto's grip, distracting him and stopping him from stepping on the tracks.
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  • Landlord: Antonia, Umberto's cruel landlady, who tosses him out on his ear.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Maria is pregnant. She's pretty sure the father is one of two soldiers.
  • No-Tell Motel: Apparently the boarding house is gradually becoming this. Umberto comes home to find that Antonia is renting out his room at 1,000 lira per hour to people who want a place for sex.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: After the Interrupted Suicide, Umberto coaxes Flike back to him. They go walking away from the camera together, as Umberto plays games with his dog.
  • Pride: This stops Umberto from begging in the public square. At one point he puts his hand out, only to turn it over when a passerby is about to drop some cash into it. He tries to let Flike do the begging for him (with Umberto's hat in his teeth), only to shamefacedly retrieve the dog when someone he knows walks by.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Umberto chats up a friend and makes a very thinly veiled appeal for 2000 lira to help him stave off his landlady. The friend pretends not to get it.
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